Don’t blame the ferry service for the drop in the tourist trade

We need thousands of fish stocked in our lakes and rivers, not just a few hundred

To the Expositor:

A short time ago, we all cried about no ferry service and no tourists. Well, don’t blame the ferry service.

The people to blame are ourselves first, including our local politicians and our Liberal government and the MNR.

If any of you remember the ‘90s and early 2000s when we had a fishery on the Island, Lake Manitou was being stocked on a yearly basis. Now we get a few thousand every two years. This while the MNR continues to take eggs for off-Island lakes. Stocking in Lake Manitou is stock for two years, a few thousand, and no stock for two years. This cannot sustain a fishery.

During the ‘90s there was from 180,000 to 240,000 fish stocked in South Bay per year, now almost nil.

Our hatchery on the Blue Jay is only running at about half capacity.

There is no reason why we taxpayers should have to kiss the MNR’s feet to get fish plants.

The MNR could not manage a bake sale for three Girl Guides. Lake Huron stocking from the MNR for salmon, rainbow, and steelhead is nil. They don’t even help the local fish and game clubs. All the MNR does is put restrictions. The MNR is solely responsible for the collapse of our salmon fishery and our lake trout fishery.

In the year 2011, the state of Michigan planted over 16,000,000 fish into the streams going into Lake Huron. Our MNR has planted next to zero.

It’s time that our local politicians, chambers of commerce, and tourist associations demand that we get adequate stocking in and around Manitoulin and don’t listen to the BS that comes from these so called biologists.

Look what the MNR has done to Lake Nipissing. That lake, in one more year, is going to be nothing but a big swimming hole!

In the early 2000s there was an escape loss from a cage culture business of 240,000 rainbow trout in the North Channel. The MNR said that is would devastate the eco-system. Wrong! All it did was to create one of the best fisheries anywhere in Ontario and produce the Canadian record of 44 lbs.

Last fall, we had approximately 160,000 rainbow released into Lake Wolsley. What did it do? Only created a terrific fishery.

It’s time that we demand that the MNR put 1,000,000 fish back into our waters. If you want tourist to get fishing our lakes, I’m talking 1,000,000 plants.

I’m going to tell you folks the MNR and the Liberal government do not care about the North. Everything that the MNR does for the North is dictated by politics out of the city of Toronto.

I think it’s time to separate this province into 3 regions:

1. One province – the GTA
2. Another province – Rural Southern Ontario
3. Still another province – Northern Ontario (north of the French River).

Rob Ford could be our premier and bring back the 12th of July holiday. Wouldn’t Rob Ford look good on King Billie’s horse in the parade?

In closing, if we do not do anything, we will lose all of our fisheries and the MNR doesn’t care. Maybe it’s time to throw the MNR off of our Island and just keep enforcement officers. If all of the municipalities get together and take over all of the hatcheries, we could have good fishing again. I am saying that we need millions of fish to be stocked in our waters, not a few thousand.

This is our Island and we have to take a stand on this issue. Flower smellers and tree huggers and bicyclists don’t bring anything to the economy of this Island. The people who come with trailers and boats and rent motel rooms and cottages for weeks at a time and buy $50 worth of gas a day and tackle and charters: this is what the Island was about before and could be again.

Bob Lewis
South Baymouth